DIBRUGARH, Feb 7 � The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is pulling out all the stops to welcome Sarbananda Sonowal into the Saffron Brigade on Tuesday morning. Those to be present at the initiation ceremony include the BJP president Nitin Gadkari, its national general secretary Vijai Goel, national secretary Varun Gandhi, the party�s State president, Ranjit Dutta, all the four BJP MPs from Assam, and other leaders.
Sonowal�s joining the BJP is being made out to be a national issue of sorts by the BJP, which seems thrilled that a mass leader like Sonowal has finally decided to join the party. �With his joining us, we will now take up Assam and the North East�s issues with a renewed zeal at the national level,� said Goel. The BJP had been trying to woo Sonowal since 1999.
The initiation ceremony will take place at 11 am at the Old Government Boys� High School Field here. The BJP is making elaborate arrangements to make the occasion a memorable one. Along with Sonowal, several other prominent public figures from the tea labourer and Muslim ethnic tribal communities are also scheduled to formally join the BJP tomorrow. According to Sonowal�s closest aides, this would set out a unique message that the BJP is a cosmopolitan entity, in stark contradiction to claims by the party�s political rivals, who want to nail down the BJP by proffering that it is a group for high caste Hindus and businessmen alone. And if this happens tomorrow, the BJP would benefit from a tremendous image makeover too, feels observers.
Sonowal said he is joining the BJP to take burning issues of Assam and the North East to the national level. �Most of the issues we are grappling with have to be appropriately dealt with by the Centre for a prosperous and peaceful North East,� he said. He said he is not leaving regionalism, but taking regionalism to the national level. He added that he has no grievances against the AGP, and stressed that he does not want the AGP to be seen as a weak political entity. �But then, pressing issues like foreigners infiltration, insurgency and economic issues have to be taken up strongly at the national level, and the BJP is the right platform to deliver on these fronts,� he added.
While Sonowal said he is not in favour of AGP cadres crossing over to the BJP, following him, the AGP camp here is trying to give a brave face to its fait accompli. Says Sasanka Neog, Dibrugarh district general secretary of the AGP: �It is the AGP that made Sarbananda Sonowal the leader that he is today. We will miss him, but in politics, nobody is indispensable.� Others in the regional party were not that charitable, but this is only to be expected.
Our Staff Correspondent adds: The jubiliant BJP workers who were seen giving the last touches to the stage for tomorrow�s event were buoyed by the surprise visit of a galaxy of party leaders like BJP national general secretaries -Vijay Goel and Tapir Gao, State BJP president Ranjit Dutta, MP Bijoya Chakravorty, H K Bharali, P Chandrashekhar, Kamakhya Prasad Tasa, local MLA Prasanta Phukan and others. As the BJP workers cheer about getting a vibrant youth leader into their party fold, the AGP here is still making efforts for Sonowal�s retreat. The BJP has erected several welcome arches on the city�s main roads to welcome the party�s national leaders to the city, and has ushered in a festive spirit to the city since this afternoon.
Earlier, Vijay Goel while addressing the media here today said that with the joining of Ex MP Sarbananda Sonowal to BJP, they are expecting a complete change in the Assam politics. �We are hopeful that many more student and youth leaders would join the BJP along with Sonowal,�, he said. While inviting more entrants to the party, the BJP leader said that the imminent election was not merely about forming a government but begining a movement against inflation, corruption and infiltration.
Goel while predicting to sweep the Assembly polls in the State here, said: � There will be no government without BJP.� People of the State were irritated by the Tarun Gogoi led government, he added. He also however, did not rule out post poll alliance with regional parties if failed to secure the number. State BJP president Ranjit Dutta told media persons that about 50, 000 people would assemble for tomorrow�s rally.